to start with, i had an AWESOMETERRIFICFANTABULOUS diwali here!
wasn’t quite expecting it to turn out so great, because the girls took tooooo long to get ready! what’s new about that anyway 😉 srini and i were getting terribly frustrated by the minute, but then it was worth it. we dressed in our diwali best, except srini! but then, it was around lower than ten degrees outside so we had to cover it all up with jackets and mufflers and what not.
we had decided beforehand to go to southall, a predominantly north indian suburb in london. ameya had been there before with the gang, and said that he had not seen a single britisher in a span of three hours! all he could see was pugdees and beards and salwar kameezes!! GREAT!
met mahima and srinivas anna at surbiton station. ameya had already left for southall as they were supposed to meet some other revelers from kingston university. we landed at southall station changing three trains on the way. and i was thrilled to see the name of the station written in gurmukhi under the english! hahaha! imagine that! would be much nicer to see a mini marathwada there in some years!
as we got out of the station, we were greeted by the sight, sound and smell of firecrackers!!!
we stood there like kids in front of a toy store. i cannot put into words the feeling you get when you see so many of your people around, celebrating the greatest festival ever, just like back home!! the chill in the air did not matter, neither did the constant grumbling tummy!
we then proceeded to the gurudwara. on the way, we saw a nice little “Shree Ram Temple”.
went in, and felt like home! the sweet smell of incense, mithai and the familiar idols, all with their forgiving eyes was too overwhelming! waited there for some time. it was something close to eight-thirty and the head pujari was almost shoving us out because it was ‘closing time’. i wondered what temple closes at night, and it dawned upon me that i was in the UK! we all got small servings of the prasad, while priyanka got a box full of mithai, and also a generous offering of bhajiya!
happily stuffing ourselves with whatever sweets the box had to offer, we finally arrived at the gurudwara.
a lot of fireworks were going all over the place there too. saw a guy light a rocket by hand, and when it started burning him, he promptly dropped in on the ground. and it swished past my feet (not joking!) and landed just outside the gurudwara wall! guess he had had a lot of sweets which went to his head!
people had lighted thousands of candles outside the gurudwara! probably the only foreign thing i saw that night!!the light was pretty. took some snaps there. wish i had a dslr…
gauri & mahima
gauri, mahima & manjyot
once inside, i felt i was in amritsar!! it is really commendable of the sikh community to have established themselves in such a way here. the gurudwara was huge, leaving us in constant bewilderment! some devotees were singing traditional songs (forgive my ignorance), which gave me a good photo op.
after offering our prayers at the main altar, we proceeded to have the most ultimate indian meal i have had in two months of being here!! and that too, for free! the langar was great beyond words. rotis, vegetables, kheer and dal…having the dal made me think that it is something that only the punjabis should make…ever!! plus you had sweets like jalebis and assorted khoya things…my mouth is watering as i type this!! ate to my heart’s content. the smile never left my face till the moment i went off to sleep in my room. serious!
mayur, neha, me, gauri
manjyot, srini, priyanka, namrata
srininvas anna, balya, ameya, mayur, srini
srini & me
well, after having our stomachs full with the best indian food this side of the world, we decided to leave. time for last minute “group photo, group photo”!!
standing l to r – namrata, mahima, neha, manjyot, ameya, priyanka, srini, anna
sitting – l to r – gauri, balya, mayur
gauri took these pictures of interesting things on the way to the station –
‘salaam namaste’ indian restaurant. check out the price of the dosa!!! in that price, you could have dosas for a whole month if you make them at home. hahaha!
the streets looked pretty similar to those in mumbai during diwali. cute!
and look what i found, ma!!!!!!!!
STATE BANK OF INDIA, Southall Branch.
we got to the station, and as we were about to cross, these three loud cars came along and waited at the signal. ameya stood there drooling and my eyes almost bounced off the road. FOUR LAMBORGHINI GALLARDOS!! in a row! we stood there, almost in a daze as the revs of the engines got louder and broke our reverie. the angels zoomed past in the batting of an eyelid. that’s when both ameya and i came back to our original selves and screamed out, hugging each other in the middle of the road!! that was a befitting end to a terrific diwali here so many miles away from home!!!
P.S. – ameya was so delirious with happiness, that we had to carry him to the train.
and i am still looking for my left eye!
all in all, a memorable diwali!! spoke to family and friends, went out with friends here, had great food, saw the angels, and went to sleep content. in fact, more than content!!!
wish everyone of you a very happy diwali and a AWESOMETERRIFICFANTABULOUS new year!!